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Social Phobia Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What Is Social Phobia?

Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by an intense fear in one or more social situations causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life

A person with social phobia is afraid that he or she will make mistakes, look bad, and be embarrassed or humiliated in front of others. Such anxiety can lead to panic attacks.

Causes Of Social Phobia:

Social phobia arises due to interaction between a number of complex factors.

These factors include the following:

  • Inherited traits

It is observed that social phobia runs within families. However, study as to whether the disorder arises due to genetics or learned behavior is so fat inconclusive.

  • Brain structure

People with overactive amygdale (part of the brain which controls fear) may have an exaggerated fear response leading to social phobia

Social phobia may be a learned behavior, one which you acquire by observing others.

Risk Factors Of Social Phobia:

The following factors increase the risk of getting social phobia:

  • Family history
  • Negative experiences
  • Temperament
  • New social or work demands
  • Having a health condition that draws attention

Symptoms Of Social Phobia:

Symptoms of social phobia can be divided into two broad categories.

  • Emotional and behavioral symptoms
  • Fear of situations in which you may be judged
  • Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
  • Concern that you’ll offend someone
  • Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers
  • Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
  • Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you embarrassment, such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice
  • Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
  • Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
  • Having anxiety in anticipation of a feared activity or event
  • Spending time after a social situation analyzing your performance and identifying flaws in your interactions
  • Expecting the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation
  • Physical Symptoms
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Upset stomach or nausea

Trouble Eatching Your Breath

  • Confusion or feeling “out of body
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness

Diagnosis Of Social Phobia:

There is no such rest or exam which helps in diagnosis of social phobia.

Doctors usually use the criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose social phobia.

The criteria include:

  • Persistent (typically 6 months or longer) fear of or intense anxiety about social situations in which you believe you may be scrutinized or act in a way that’s embarrassing or humiliating
  • Avoidance of anxiety-producing social situations or enduring them with intense fear or anxiety
  • Excessive anxiety that’s out of proportion to the situation
  • Anxiety or distress that interferes with your daily living
  • Fear or anxiety that is not better explained by a medical condition, medication or substance abuse

Treatment Of Social Phobia:

Treatment for social phobia can be divided into the following categories:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Medications
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti anxiety medications
  • Beta blockers

By : Natural Health News

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